The vibe: Set just off of Covent Garden’s tourist-heavy square, the atmosphere at Joe’s is loud and lively. Formerly ‘Navajo Joe’s’, the kitchen has had a name change and a makeover this year, with diner-style décor and a new spotlight on Southern hospitality to match the menu. The bar downstairs is as busy as the main restaurant and the food comes out fast but fresh.

The food: Straight from the kitchen of the Louisiana Momma you never had. This is Southern comfort food at its best, head chef Mark Jeevaratnam turns out finger-licking plates of sticky chicken wings, soft shell crab and jalapeno poppers just for starters. The chicken here is a big deal - American tasting and pressure-fried for, supposedly, a slightly healthier finish. We had the night’s special, a ‘coq in a bun’, which comprised of a battered breast stacked with fresh salsa, nachos and cheese. Like coqs, cocktails are another specialty with quirky original concoctions like the fruity Rumdog Millionaire and the Manhattan-based Yankee Mohado served in old jam jars. The rest of the bar is very well-stocked too, with over 100 tequilas to choose from and a great selection of niche American beers. Calorific, maybe, but delicious, definitely. Just work a little harder in the gym the next day!

The details: To book call 0207 240 4008 or visit

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By Caroline Leaper